I am very excited about the renovation and the revitalization of our Downtown. Our downtown is one of the ways that we define our community character and as such, it is very important that the downtown acts as an economic, social, civic, and recreational hub.
In 2004, Novato completed the restoration of Grant Avenue, which eliminated the crown in the street, re-built our sidewalks and corrected drainage problems – resulting in a $11 million beautification project and a community investment that is the largest capital improvement project in Novato. We completed the renovation of Novato’s icon – our historic church in 2009 which is now the Council Chambers and home for community events. And, in 2016, we finished the construction of our City Offices which brought our city staff back downtown. After working with Copperfields for several years, they found a home at 999 Grant Avenue and are glad to be in Novato. Currently, we are working with our downtown businesses to draw more shoppers downtown by having events and initiating the “Shop Novato” campaign.
There are some catalyst projects that will help continue the downtown revitalization that is in the works: Now that we own the old historic train depot on Grant and Railroad Avenues, we entered into an agreement with SF Brewing Company to propose a project for that area that includes dining and other amenities. The renovation of the Historic Downtown Theater was something many of us worked towards for decades. Unfortunately, the non-profit that owns the property has determined that the cost far exceeds their fundraising capacity. We understand that the non-profit may be proposing to sell the property in the future. Over the last few years, there have been proposals for more retail which will definitely bring the West side of Grant Avenue more life!
We need to continue to bring high quality, diverse businesses and entertainment venues to our downtown, including restaurants, and other retail businesses. I am fully committed to making our downtown lively, prosperous and truly the heart of the Novato community.